On trial, £15,000
Michael Dötsch is the most revered German luthier of the 20th century. He is renowned (or rather infamous) for his frighteningly accurate fakes of the old masters, but the violins he made under his own label are equally exemplary in tone and workmanship.
This is a beautiful violin in the high Berlin style. All details of this fine Guarneri model are executed with unusual precision, the varnish is deep and lustrous, and the wood is very dramatic. Dötsch liked to use very old wood for the tables of his violins – the spruce used on this instrument has a deep bearclaw figure and very pronounced even growth. The condition is generally excellent, though there’s a repaired crack below the left f-hole and a small saddle crack. The varnish is beautifully preserved, and the edges and corners are relatively undisturbed.
There is quite a prejudice against 20th century German violins, mainly because of the huge output of cheap student instruments rom Markneukirchen and Schönbach. However, everyone sets this prejudice aside for Michael Dötsch – his instruments sound fantastic. This one is great – very loud, bright and forceful while retaining a beautiful reedy/woody core. It’s a real concert instrument – I don’t know what his secret is, but the sound is completely even, and it seems to gain in volume and breadth as you travel up the E string. In the highest positions it still belts out a gorgeous sound. Not a violin for the faint-hearted, but very responsive and dynamic with pretty much unlimited power. A rare example from a great maker.
Length of back 35.8cm, stop 130/196mm
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